Edmonton is no stranger to the improv scene. For over 30 years, Rapid Fire Theatre has been a cultural institution, bringing its live shows to the heart of the city. Currently at the helm is Matt Schuurman, who became the Artistic Director in 2015, but was a part of the team long before then — and he’s loved every minute of it.
Improvisational theatre is a special strain of live theatre. Without a script, performers look to their audiences for ideas in order to create something unique and special. “It’s the most responsive art form,” says Schuurman. “You get instant feedback from your audience, and you’re constantly working with [them] to create something, instead of just presenting something.”
Schuurman is particularly excited for Improvaganza, which he describes as a “destination festival for improvisers.” Both the audiences and the performers benefit from the experience. “It’s the best acts from across the world… [and] Edmonton audiences are some of the best in the world,” says Schuurman. “It’s the whole ‘Make Something Edmonton’ idea. This is a great city to make something, and people will support you.”
This kind of support and the availability of such opportunities comes in handy with Schuurman’s other pursuit. The improv veteran uses his animation degree to create projected set designs for other live-theatre performances, collaborating with such companies as the Northern Lights Theatre, L’UniThéâtre, and the Citadel Theatre. Combining his passions, Schuurman also created a Star Trek-inspired video improv show, The Red Shirt Diaries, which will be a part of this summer’s Fringe Festival. —Tamara Aschenbrenner
Improvaganza | June 15 – 25
Be prepared to laugh until it hurts at Canada’s largest improv festival, where talented artists from across Canada will compete in a series of hilarious theatresports matches and host workshops. For a full schedule of plays and events, visit the website.
Citadel Theatre | 9828-101A Ave. | 780-448-0695